These are the adventures of Andy and Sally Rawnsley on their narrowboat "The Puzzler". We have been living on the boat for over eight years now and are still loving it. Our Ulster born Shih Tzu, Shannon, has grown up, and has taken over the boat! After three wonderful years in Ireland, we transported The Puzzler to The Netherlands, and spent a year there. In 2015 we went southwards, to reach the north of France by June. After glorious weather throughout the summer, we arrived in Roanne in late October, and enjoyed our winter in this friendly port. We cruised extensively in France in 2016, returning to Roanne for a second winter.


Monday, 11 July 2016

1st - 6th July. From Peronne down the river Somme to Abbeville, then on to St. Valery at the seaside

We sailed on to Peronne, where Hotelboat Elodie arrived while we were in town. Today is the 100 year commemoration of the first day of the Battle of the Somme, but it is very quiet in town. The barge which is passing us is a double Freycinet length one, so it is very long.

On board Elodie are a cycling group of 16 New Zealanders, who spent the evening playing petanque. The girls won!
The Somme is running quite fast, but here at Cappy we have found it flowing through a pretty park, as we are in a lock cut nearby.


The sun is out and perhaps summer is here at last.


The Somme is a lovely river, with many meanders. Let us hope that no-one is coming!
Just before Amiens, there is a section where these special gardens and small properties can only be reached across these arched bridges. Each garden has its own bridge, and each one is different.


This mill village reminds us of the village of Saltaire in Yorkshire.


Henson horses are an indigenous breed in this region.
At Samara we walked up behind the centre to Camp Cesar, which was a Roman encampment. We have not visited the battlefields of the Somme, but these wheat fields are like those in that area, and are a reminder of that terrible time.

We shared several locks with Dennis on Lut├ęcia. As our television was not working at Abbeyville, he kindly invited us aboard to watch the Wales/ Portugal match of Euro 16.
Alongside the canal, the river Somme divides into many channels and lakes, created by the original peat workings.
Above Pont- Remy lock the water is calm as we approach the lock across the top of the weir. Last night the water was storming through this section, making the passage look impossible, but when a boat is using the lock, they just close off the weir!
We reached Abbeyville on Wednesday, and were glad to find some room on the jetty.
Abbeville was a much bigger town than we were expecting, and was an attractive place. The square church behind the square is St. Vulfram Collegiate church. It looks very short, but this is deceptive, as it is a very tall church.
The front facade of St Vulfram church is really impressive.
From Abbeyville the Somme goes quite straight for 13 kilometres and, as The Puzzler is low enough, we do not need the bridges to be opened for us.
In St Valery there is not a great deal of mooring available, but Chantel and Claude kindly invited us alongside their boat, Peridot. Next morning a boat left, so there was then room for us on the jetty.

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